Men’s Healthy Tips – Spring 2016

Don’t have time to workout? Try HIIT Workouts.

Finding enough time to workout is a challenge for many men. Getting up early or squeezing exercise in after work is a difficult habit to build. Finding a workout that fits your schedule and you enjoy and that delivers maximum benefits? That’s the goal for many people.

One of the top trends in the fitness world today is high-intensity interval training, or HIIT. These workout programs feature short intervals of high intensity followed by longer rest periods. This approach gives maximum physical benefits in a short amount of time.

If you’re pressed for time and seeking a quick workout that still generates benefits and gets you sweating, HIIT can be a great option.

What is HIIT?
High-intensity interval training is a method of exercise that alternates quick, high-intensity intervals with longer, slower intervals for recovery. The goal is to perform short bursts of all-out work (typically about 30 seconds) that pushes your body near its limit. This is followed by periods of less intense activity to recover, typically about 1 minute. Together, these intervals have been shown to make the body work harder than performing a cardio exercise at a constant level for an equal amount of time.

Why do a HIIT workout?

  • A HIIT workout increases overall physical fitness. Pushing yourself during the intense part of the interval increases endurance and stamina. You may notice a difference during other workouts and daily life.
  • Even after a HIIT training, your body continues to burn calories. A HIIT training’s intensity means your body has to work harder to get back into balance after exerting itself. So even when you’re resting after your workout, your body continues to burn calories.
  • The workout is short—a great benefit if your schedule is packed. A quick HIIT workout of 10 minutes has many benefits. If you have more time, shoot for a 15-20 HIIT session.

How do I start?
Ease into HIIT. If you’re not accustomed to high-intensity exercise, a HIIT workout can be a shock to your body.

A HIIT-style workout can include almost any aerobic exercise—running, cycling, Pilates. Any aerobic activity you enjoy can be turned into a HIIT training session. In general, perform your chosen activity all-out for about 30 seconds and then recover for 1 minute. (For example, sprint for 30 seconds and then walk for 1 minute.) This can be repeated for 15-20 minutes, depending on your fitness level. And don’t forget to warm up for at least 5 minutes before a HIIT session.

HIIT workouts are intense, so it should be just one type of workout you do. Incorporate it maybe once or twice a week to start and allow recovery between sessions.


5 Things to Consider When Choosing Sunscreen

Summer is right around the corner, now is a good time take stock of your sun protection from last summer.

Keep these tips in mind to help choose and use an effective sunscreen:

1) Look for the words "broad spectrum" on the label.
The two types of UV light in sunshine than can damage your skin are called UVA and UVB rays. Sunscreen labeled as “broad spectrum” protects against both types of rays. Only sunscreens that protect against both are allowed to advertise the words “broad spectrum” on the label.

2) If you have sensitive skin, study the ingredients.
Some sunscreens include fragrances or alcohols that can be irritating for sensitive skin. It may also help to look for sunscreen that only uses physical blockers such as titanium dioxide or zinc oxide instead of sunscreen that uses chemical blockers such as oxybenzone, octocrylene, octinoxate, etc. The physical blockers have less risk of irritating the skin.

3) Your makeup might already have an SPF.
For women, tinted moisturizers, foundations and powders commonly include a Sun Protection Factor (SPF). Double-check the label of your daily makeup to see if you are using makeup that includes an SPF of 15 or higher. Unless you typically use a thick layer of make-up, you would still need to use a sunscreen as well. Don’t just rely on your make-up. For the face, look for face moisturizers with sunscreen already in them. These sunscreens usually do not have the typical sunscreen smell and may feel nicer on your skin. Don’t forget to also put sunscreen on your neck and upper chest. Put this on in the morning after you wash your face every day to protect your skin.

Please re-apply sunscreen every 3-4 hours if you are going to be continuously outdoors, get wet or are perspiring.

4) Check for an SPF between 30 and 50 for every day use
Look for an SPF of 30 or higher. SPF 15 filters out 93 percent of rays, SPF 30 keeps out 97 percent and SPF 50 blocks 98 percent. No sunscreen can block 100 percent. For daily use, a sunscreen of at least SPF 30 is recommended. If you will be outdoors for a long time (swimming, hiking, etc) please wear a higher SPF.

5) Decide between cream and spray—or use both!
They each are handy in different situations. You may prefer a cream for yourself, but when applying to children, a spray may be easier. Sprays are also convenient for protecting areas that are hard to apply a cream sunscreen to such as the scalp, back or top of the foot. If you do use a spray, be careful around open flames as some sprays include alcohol and may be flammable.

Whatever sunscreen you choose, the best way to protect your skin from sun damage is to be mindful of exposure. Limit time in the sun, apply sunscreen before you go out and reapply every two hours. You can also consider sun protective clothing or wide-brimmed hats.

Besides sun protection, another excellent health strategy is to schedule a dermatology skin screening. They’re fast, easy and can detect skin irregularities early.

Enjoy the sun this summer (but not too much)!


Healthy Habits for Summer

It’s early June, but it already feels like summer is HERE. With the warmer weather, and flowers in bloom, try to think of this as a time for you to create healthy changes!

So we’ve put together a few ideas to get ready for summer sun, the beach and feeling great.

Drink water.
If you ever feel slightly tired or sluggish, it’s always a good idea to consider how much water you’ve drank lately. Even if you make great choices in every other aspect of your health, if you neglect water intake, your body may not feel tip top.

The old one-size-fits-all rule was to drink eight 8-ounce glasses of water a day. However, the new thinking is that you should drink half your body weight in ounces per day to stay adequately hydrated. (So if you weigh 150 pounds, you would drink 75 ounces of water each day—or about nine glasses.) Doing some rigorous exercise? Increase your water intake. A reusable water bottle by your side can be a great reminder to sip water.

Get some exercise.
Exercise alone doesn’t promote weight loss, but it’s a key component to a fit body. Setting goals and doing physical activities you enjoy is a good start. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends adults get at least 2 hours and 30 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity every week, plus muscle-strengthening activities on at least two days.

That might sound like a lot, but when broken out over seven days, you could exercise just 30 minutes on five days. If you are pressed for time, it’s also OK to split up your daily exercise goal into 10-minute chunks. Easy muscle-strengthening ideas include push-ups, squats and sit-ups. Still no time? Doing 15 of each a day is better than nothing and only takes about 5 minutes.

Even if you fall short, aim to have no days with zero activity. Even a short walk is better than a completely sedentary day.

Eat your way to a healthy body.
Being unprepared makes it all too easy to eat foods close at hand rather than healthy foods. A little planning, shopping and chopping will help you lose or maintain a healthy weight and move you toward a healthier diet. Chop vegetables in advance and store in the refrigerator or freezer. Plan and bring healthy snacks for work that keep you well away from the vending machine.

Use the MyPlate method to design meals. The four quarters of your plate should be divided between fruits, vegetables, protein and grains.

Easy "wins" for your eating plan might be choosing a black-bean burger over regular beef or skipping the cheese on a salad or sandwich. If you enjoy salads, be mindful of the dressing. Heavy, creamy options like ranch or blue cheese can be swapped for a balsamic or Italian vinaigrette. On their own these changes seem small, but weekly they add up to big potential weight loss.

Another tip—Try to avoid extra calories from sugary beverages, such as sodas and juices. Read the labels—sometimes even beverages that are labeled as healthy can contain a lot of sugar! Rather, make your own smoothies, containing healthy vegetables, fruits (maybe frozen) and plain yogurt.

Sleep well.
A lack of sleep increases the levels of a hunger hormone called ghrelin and decreases levels of the satiety/fullness hormone called leptin. So not enough sleep could lead to overeating and weight gain. When you get 7-9 hours of quality sleep, your body feels more balanced and that will help you to snack less, make better food choices and have fewer cravings. What else does a lack of sleep do? It makes you crave more carbs!

Four sleep culprits:

  • Smartphone use. Lying in bed with the blue light from your smartphone screen stimulates the brain and may slow the release of the sleep-inducing hormone called melatonin. The result? It’s difficult to fall asleep! Even though many phones now have a “night mode” feature to filter out blue light, the act of engaging with your phone right before bed may still be disruptive to your sleep.
  • Stimulants like coffee, alcohol and food— alcohol especially, because it can make you snore and wakes you.
  • An environment that’s either too hot or too cold.
  • And lastly, a no-brainer—stress.

Be mindful, reduce stress.
Try adding meditation practice into your daily routine. It’s easy to get lost each day rushing from one thing to another, particularly when kids are home from school, and vacation-planning can add to already existing stress levels. Try to take 5 minutes each day to practice gratitude. Research done on this topic has shown that reminding ourselves to be grateful, for not only what is good, but also some of our struggles that help us grow, reduces the stress response in our bodies, and regulates our sleep and mood.

Listen to your body!
Overall, the best way to improve your health and feel good about yourself before summer is to take some time to listen to your body. Treat it well and you’ll be on the path to feeling great in time for summer!


Peanut Butter Protein Smoothie

For a simple, protein-packed meal, try this peanut butter smoothie!

Preparation time: 5 minutes | Servings: 1

Peanut Butter Protein Smoothie Ingredients:

  • 1 banana, peeled and sliced and then frozen
  • 2-3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder (I like the Dutch Processed kind)
  • 1 tablespoon peanut butter
  • ½ cup plain or vanilla Greek yogurt
  • 1 tablespoon sweetener (honey or maple syrup) optional
  • ½ to ¾ cup milk (almond or cow's milk both work well)

Add everything to your blender and blend until smooth. Add more milk as needed to process until smooth. Enjoy right away.

Recipe courtesy of: Bless this Mess